Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) has apologized after a new venture banishing Uber and Lyft drivers from pick-ups outside the terminal resulted in "carmageddon."
A new pick-up zone called LAX-it was introduced several hundred meters from Terminal 1 on Monday to ease congestion, which is served by shuttle buses from the terminal.
But passengers arriving in LA and drivers working for ride-hailing apps said the system was slow, confused, and resulted in long delays and traffic jams.
"We have seen significant challenges at peak time this evening," LAX's official account tweeted.
"Those challenges included long waits for shuttles, congestion for shuttles to get to LAX-it, and long wait times for Ubers and Lyfts at the lot."
—LAX Airport (@flyLAXairport) October 30, 2019
"Taxis have over-performed all day long, picking up more passengers than usual."
Nicole Moore, a Lyft driver, told the UK's Guardian newspaper: "It was carmageddon."
Erik Newlin, a Dallas resident visiting LA for business, told the LA Times three Ubers cancelled on him as he waited at LAX-it on Monday.
"This has been a complete cluster. It cost me 25 minutes I didn't have," he said.
—Melissa Rosenthal (@MelisOnCheddar) October 30, 2019
A passenger told ABC 7: "Once you get to the lot, there's no direction really. There's a line to get an Uber. What sense does that make?"
Attorney Micheal Avenatti tweeted: "If you thought Trump's impeachment strategy was bad, you haven't seen the new s–t show at [LAX] relating to Uber/Lyft."
In the run up to the launch, Uber had told airport officials they expected "service to be poor" and for them to expect traffic jams and long waits.
LAX said the shuttle bus from the terminal to LAX-it would come every 3-5 minutes. Officials said Tuesday the average wait was 10 minutes, the LA Times said.
LAX-it is for Uber and Lyft pick-ups only. Uber and Lyft drivers can still drop off passengers right outside the terminal.
LAX said it would take between 25 to 30 minutes to get out of the airport after leaving the terminal under the new system, but passengers reported it taking far longer.
"It's our first day doing this and we know we've got improvements to make," LAX tweeted late Monday.
A Lyft spokesperson said: "We've been working closely with LAX airport leadership, and we have an experienced team on the ground making real-time adjustments to improve our operations for both riders and drivers."
—Nate Enthusiasm (@enthuxiasm) October 31, 2019